Thinking Anglicans

Sentamu on homophobia

The Archbishop of York appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme today, and got into a spat with presenter Piers Morgan about homophobia. There’s a video here: Piers challenges Archbishop of York over gay rights.
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Press reports

Harry Farley Christian Today Archbishop of York clashes with Piers Morgan over gay marriage

The Archbishop of York became embroiled in a live TV argument over same-sex marriage on Wednesday morning as ITV presenter Piers Morgan accused him of homophobia.

Archbishop John Sentamu was appearing on Good Morning Britain when Morgan compared homophobia and racism. Sentamu, who is originally from Uganda, was visibly irritated at Morgan’s suggestions.

“This is the trouble I have with the people who argue that the question of sexuality is equal in terms of argument to the question of slavery.

“No, some of my relations died on the ships. Slavery was a very wrong thing.” …

Nick Duffy Pink News Archbishop John Sentamu: Homosexuality is not a sin, LGBT people were created in God’s image too

Antony Bushfield Premier Archbishop: ‘Not supporting gay marriage does not equal homophobia’

Nicola Agius Mirror Archbishop of York NOT happy as Piers Morgan compares homophobia to racism in heated gay marriage debate

Keiligh Baker Mail Online ‘The church ISN’T homophobic – I have lots of gay friends’: Archbishop of York in TV row with Piers Morgan as he is challenged over religious attitudes after Orlando massacre

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Cynthiarobert ian williamsSara MacVaneSpirit of Vatican IIKate Recent comment authors
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Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

‘Some of my relations died on those ships’. Oh for heaven’s sake, were talking about mass murder. There is no heirachy of evil.

Mark Beach
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Mark Beach

Oh really, Sentamu… So some of your ancestors died on a slave ship.

Some gay people died in night club.

They were all murdered can’t you see the parallel

Sjh
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Sjh

If he supports civil partnerships why won’t he bless them? It is always just words. Archbishop we will judge you not on what you say but on what you do. So far you have been busy ensuring the church does not have to treat LGBT people equally in the church. This diminishes them, if you hadn’t noticed.

Junia
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Junia

I cannot believe ABY thinks the “I have gay friends” line makes him sound like less of a bigot. Surely he’s intelligent enough to know what a nonsensical and cliché phrase that is.

James Byron
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James Byron

Which “relations”? The transatlantic slave trade was outlawed some 200 years ago, and vigorously suppressed by the British Royal Navy. Unless Sentamu’s a lot older than he’s letting on, I believe the phrase he’s looking for is “distant ancestors.”

Typical double-speak from Sentamu. For him, of all people, to justify discrimination on the basis of how people are born is just atrocious. For him to claim to oppose homophobia adds insult to injury.

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

When he says “I supported civil partnerships” that would be what some would call “a lie” wouldn’t it? At best it is very economical with the actualite.

And Morgan, not exactly an intellectual heavyweight, runs rungs around him. Sentamu comes over as being completely out of his depth in what, for an archbishop on an ITV sofa, should be barely ankle deep water.

Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

I think I’ll pass on having the ABY defend me from homophobia, if it’s all the same to him.

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

‘He hit back: “No, some of my relatives actually died on the ships.” ‘John Sentamu.

Whereas, lgbti people are never put to death either on land or on sea….

Or else, what is his point ?

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

Having returned to my keyboard from my phone… I can only think that the Archbishop has been listening to old episodes of Gary Bellamy’s “Down the Line” and, like a few people at the time it was first broadcast, not realised that it actually an artful spoof. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdmrtN-8Xjc He has presumably been living in an echo chamber where (a) invocation of slavery immediately triggers so much liberal guilt that all rational argument goes out of the window. It may have escaped his attention that (a) restrictions on marriage for people of colour have hardly been unusual, with “miscegenation” a particular… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

It seems truly bizarre that a couple who both have a penis and who both have fathered children can lawfully marry in the Church of England – indeed have a right to do so – if one has legally changed gender, but two gay men cannot. And yes, it is also entirely possible for both of the couple to be visibly pregnant at the time of a church wedding. It is also possible for a couple both with male birth certificates, or both with female birth certificates, to marry in the Church of England, but the circumstances are more complex… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Once again… “I love the sinner, but hate the sin.” Okay, that is your right, if you believe that, in good conscience. But hating the loving, intimate, devoted, sexual, tender expressions at the heart of two decent people’s lives… profound expressions of who they are… that is still homophobia. Or look at how little help there is, how few resources, how much erasure, on diocesan websites. It’s homophobic marginalisation going on across the institution. Or ‘consequencing’ people because they love each other and want to share their lives together. Or taking people’s jobs away… the service of the sick in… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

Of course, regardless of appearances in the interview, Sentamu’s the opposite of dim: in Uganda, he was an advocate and judge at a very young age; and he holds multiple advanced degrees from Cambridge. We can safely say that he’s fiercely intelligent.

Why then did a man as smart as Sentamu get into the mess he did? Simply, ’cause the position he’s defending is untenable.

Daniel Berry NYC
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Daniel Berry NYC

Notably, Donald Trump likes to bray that he has good relations “with the Blacks.”

MarkBrunson
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MarkBrunson

What a disgrace to Christ’s Body!

Nathaniel Brown
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Nathaniel Brown

‘The church ISN’T homophobic – I have lots of gay friends’ – Archbishop Sentamu Dear ++ York – Please read thee three quotations, and ponder what you have said: 1971: “DEAR ABBY, First let me say some of my best friends are homosexual, I have nothing against them, but…” From: Gentlemen’s Agreement: Anne Dettrey: I know dear, and some of your other best friends are Methodist, but you never bother to say it. Kathy Lacey: You think I’m an anti-Semite. Phil Green: No, I don’t. But I’ve come to see lots of nice people who hate it and deplore it… Read more »

Alastair Newman
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It was a nice switch from a question about anti-miscegenation to an answer about slavery. The comparison between anti-miscegenation and restricted access to marriage on the basis of sexuality seems quite an apt one, and we received no answer on that point at all.

John Barton
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John Barton

Archbishop Sentamu was invited to be interviewed about the Referendum, because he had published articles on the subject. Without warning, Piers Morgan chose to ignore this and press him about gay marriage. It was he who introduced a comparison with racism.

It is predictable that most Thinking Anglicans contributors will insist that opposition to gay marriage is homophobic. Anyone who disagrees with them is dim, out of his depth, insulting, bigoted. There is no debate, because they have an infallible grasp of the truth. Now where have I heard that before?

John Barton

Iain McLean
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Iain McLean

It is possible that John Sentamu supported civil partnerships in 2004 (he was not yet in the Lords), but he never said so then, when the bishops in the Lords attempted to defeat the Civil Partnerships Bill. See my Guardian comment piece from 2012, with its links and citations

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2012/may/23/john-sentamu-claims-civil-partnerships-false

Spirit of Vatican II
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Spirit of Vatican II

I think Abp Sentamu is getting a bum rap here. He quite rightly said that opposition to redefining marriage does not make him a homophobe, and he skilfully changed the subject to Brexist toward the end. Piers Morgan gave a repetitive, rude, and question-begging harangue.

Sara MacVane
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Sara MacVane

In Brown v the School Board of Topeka, Kansas, the Supreme Court (USA) ruled that separate is never equal, or in this case (Civil Partnership and Marriage) we might say: different is never equal and to refuse equality is to discriminate (“homophobia”)at least in my humble opinion.

Susannah Clark
Guest

It’s pretty simple really. Piers Morgan should not have asked “Is homosexuality a sin” because the orientation itself is often tolerated as long as people don’t act on it (and lead lives of celibacy not demanded of heterosexual couples). Instead, he should have asked: “Are homosexual acts a sin?” That is the direct question that needs to be put, again and again, to both John Sentamu and Justin Welby. Because if homosexual acts are as lovely and legitimate as heterosexual acts, then surely they should be blessed and sanctified inside marriage (which is the only context in which – it… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Kate raises a pertinent point about the implications of the Gender Recognition Act, namely that two people with penises, or two people with vaginas, may already be married members of the Church of England. In a community I am involved with, I have a Christian friend with a true and lively faith, who long ago married a childhood sweetheart. And their marriage has been a blessing ever since. Of course, it has also been fully acceptable in the eyes of their church. In recent years, my friend transitioned, and eventually had gender reassignment surgery. By much grace, their family has… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

“It is predictable that most Thinking Anglicans contributors will insist that opposition to gay marriage is homophobic.”

I don’t think objecting to ssm within CofE is homophobic but Sentamu goes beyond that and argues that same sex couples should only be allowed civil partnerships, not a secular marriage.

IMO it is his attempt to own the entirety of the term “marriage” to exclude same sex couples which is homophobia.

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“He quite rightly said that opposition to redefining marriage does not make him a homophobe”

“question-begging harangue”

An example of “question begging” would be “quite rightly said”.

Brian Ralph
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Brian Ralph

I consider that opposition to redefining marriage is a mark of homophobia. Here in NZ, the only time I feel I am a 2nd class citizen is when I enter an Anglican church. The Anglican church of Aotearoa New Zealand is one of the few openly homophobic institutions left in this country.
Unlike in my country of birth, where I know I become 2nd class as I pass through customs in Sydney. The reason I now proudly carry a NZ passport and no longer put Anglican on any form asking my religion.

Malcolm Halliday
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Malcolm Halliday

John Barton. ++Sentamu had also written following the murderous attack on LGBT people in Orlando and he was fairly pressed on his position and Morgan fairly and robustly pointed out that there were other views within the Established Church than those being propounded by the Archbishop and that a change might be needed if the Church’s mission to the nation was not to be frustrated. Like other writers to this column I thought the reference to historic slavery was true but a diversion to the argument he was having. Defending a position on the Referendum was an easy call. His… Read more »

MarkBrunson
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MarkBrunson

No, Spirit, he is NOT getting a bum rap. Either he is too tin-eared to realize or too disingenuous to care about the phrasing – that’s first. Second, how about we say this: “There’s nothing wrong with how the Catholics were treated after Mary I! It’s perfectly possible to believe that Catholics shouldn’t hold office or be allowed to vote and not be anti-Catholic. Some of my best friends are! Besides, Mary I burned some of my own people at the stake, and that’s wrong. So, not at all comparable to the real struggle others have had.” Piers Morgan is… Read more »

Christina Beardsley
Guest

Kate, in an earlier thread you made a similar point about the CofE’s apparent inconsistency in permitting the marriage of trans people in its churches contrasted with its vehement opposition to same sex marriage. It was of course an apparently unanimous House of Bishops that secured the quadruple lock to prevent same sex couples marrying in its churches. As I’ve noted in ‘This is my body: hearing the theology of transgender Christians’ and elsewhere, in 2003 the House of Bishops was publicly divided over the marriage of trans people following gender recognition: Bishop(s) (one in particular) spoke in favour in… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

“It is predictable that most Thinking Anglicans contributors will insist that opposition to gay marriage is homophobic. Anyone who disagrees with them is dim, out of his depth, insulting, bigoted. There is no debate, because they have an infallible grasp of the truth. Now where have I heard that before?” Brilliant framing of the Fascist Mob, Mr Barton: I was almost too ashamed to speak! What gives it all away, however, is the phrase “opposition to gay marriage”. As has been said (about another issue), “if you’re opposed to gay marriage, don’t get [married in] one.” But that’s not really… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
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Spirit of Vatican II

Pope Francis would give exactly the same reply as Sentamu — this resistance to “redefining marriage” is just the current teaching of both our churches. Pouncing on Sentamu in a highly individualized way even makes me feel we are thinking in racist stereotypes (“he’s African, he must be homophobic”). In our Irish Marriage Referendum the yes camp banned all reference to the no camp as “homophobic” and this restraint and breadth of vision was one of the contributing factors to the stunning success of the referendum. Gay activists do not need to be kneejerk in their reactions,

Iain Baxter
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Iain Baxter

One of my best friends is gay – and he does not agree with gay marriage – and he definitely is not homophobic. However, if someone does all in their power to stop someone getting married, because they are gay, then I think that is a pretty homophobic action. I hardly think the ABY can complain about an ambush – it was just after the terrible massacre in Orlando, he would have expected to be asked about his reaction. What he did not expect was such robust questioning, for which his response was dangerously close to “I am only obeying… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

Christina Stephen Whittle is a divisive figure in terms of advocacy but the paper you kindly linked is good work, and something I’d not read. Thank you. I have only skim read it because I am on mobile today, but I will study it. Relevant here is his conclusion. Male/female and man/woman has already been defined to mean something different in national and church law than any of the concepts Setanmu and co have when they insist marriage is only between one man and one woman. That being the case, I can see no credible objection to doing as you… Read more »

robert ian williams
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robert ian williams

Isn’t this all relative. By today’s standards some one like Abraham Lincoln would be considered racist as he believed the best solution for freed black slaves was repatriation to Africa. How do you judge right and wrong? So how can you call some one homophobic because they do not share your views on the LBGT identity and position. Certainly there is disordered cultural prejudice ( ie. hating gay people for the sake of it) but if you believe in a revealed religion it is very hard to shift your opinion.Especially if you are governed by a religion that does not… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
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Spirit of Vatican II

He has revised St Paul on gays, but not on marriage.

Sara MacVane
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Sara MacVane

Sorry, RIW, but Abe did change his views, as almost any of his biographies will affirm.

robert ian williams
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robert ian williams

But Thomas Jefferson kept abusing black women,and owning them as slaves.

You don’t get it….you can’t judge people in past centuries by our views.Our views are subjective and subject to change.

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Don’t forget, Robert, that Jefferson wrote “I shudder when I reflect on the fact that our God is just.” He knew slavery was wrong.

I suspect that a lot of leaders in history knew that what they were doing was wrong when they burned heretics, promoted anti-semitism, etc. They were participating in demagoguery that kept them in power.

Sure, it’s tricky applying modern sensibilities to the past, but it is also problematic to let them off the hook and not marvel at how they so often used the texts of a loving God to promote evil.